Heat Shimmer Wall
(Fata Morgana)

Heat Shimmer Wall (Fata Morgana) is a new public artwork for the St. Erik Eye Hospital in Stockholm. The work is inspired by natural phenomena that play tricks on our vision. For example, mirages are atmospheric disturbances that affect the movement of light through the air, which changes the visual impression of something we see.

The phrase Fata Morgana derives from Morgan le Fay of the Celtic legend of King Arthur. She had the special ability to create imaginary visions of castles out at sea, leading ships to sail off course. This legend later inspired sailors in the Strait of Messina, between mainland Italy and Sicily, to call mirages at sea Fata Morgana – “the Fairy Morgana”. The Swedish word for mirage, hägring, comes from the Gotlandish word Hägh, which above all means high – a reference to the mirage floating above the land or sea.

Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger

The art work Heat Shimmer Wall (Fata Morgana) takes this same raised position on a wall next to the eye hospital’s auditorium. It consists of a wavy golden mirror, 27 metres long and 2.3–2.6 metres high. Reflecting the surrounding interior, the mirror produces a funhouse mirror image that seems to move or jiggle. We are all familiar with the heat waves that rise off an asphalt road in summer. And the twisted image of reality that this phenomenon creates. Heat Shimmer Wall (Fata Morgana) aims to create a similar optical illusion that allows viewers to actively interact with their own movement in the room.


"Heat Shimmer Wall (Fata Morgana)," 2020
Electroplated, mirror polished and hammered stainless steel.
27 x 2,6 m
"Heat Shimmer Wall," video documentation
Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger
Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger
Photo: Jean-Baptiste Béranger


Burning Heat Shimmer
Strait of Messina, Fata Morgana
3D illustration
3D illustration
Illustration by Johan Mets
Photo: Studio Bigert & Bergström